Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Where Are We Weak? Let’s Seek God’s Help!

Romans 8:26

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.

fullsizeoutput_ffeYesterday I began my month-long prayer/fast. Am I alone or has someone joined me? I want company!!

Two things so far in my fast department. First – I am fasting from negativity on social media. During a heated mid-term election’s last week – this is not easy. Even after the election – it will not be easy. I’m sure all of my preferred candidates will not get elected – and someone will post something negative. Second – I am fasting from any food not on my health plan. Being on a health journey is not easy to begin with – but holding fast to the plan is even harder. I’m trying to coach and encourage others – so I MUST walk the walk and not just talk the talk. Yes – I have lost 37 pounds in less than 4 months – but how much healthier might I be if I had walked the walk 100%? We’ll see what November brings. Pray for me please! Continue reading

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November 2, 2018 Posted by | Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, Fast, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Let’s Encourage One Another!

Ephesians 3:16

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,

In several places in the Bible we are urged to pray for and encourage one another. Encouragement is essential in this day and age I believe. I think we don’t do enough encouraging and supporting one another – even in church life. How can we be more encouraging? How can we help to lift one another up? The world is beating many of us down and in the Body of Christ – we are called to encourage one another.

I recently joined a group of men from the church I attend in a small group – supporting each other as we try to get into better shape. It has been a blessing to me already – one week in. To hear and read how these men support one another and lift each other up in prayer is in itself encouraging. I hope the others feel the same way.

Today – I’m simply calling us to encourage one another. I’m trying to do it more myself and I challenge others to do it as well. Today I will share a few encouraging passages that might help us encourage others. Take the time to read them and see what God might say to your heart. Continue reading

July 26, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , | Leave a comment

Corporate Worship

Hebrews 10:24-25

24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

I hear more and more about the unchurched. We should try to reach them with the love of Jesus. I hear even more about those who profess Jesus as their Lord and Savior who choose to stay away from corporate worship. Not attending worship – going to church – was never an option as I was growing up. It was a Scriptural mandate and a mandate in our home. Gathering with the body of believers was primary – it came before anything else. If we were out on a date on Saturday night – it didn’t matter how late we came in – we were getting up to attend corporate worship on Sunday.

Today – it seems – many things come before attending to the regular worship of God – together. It seems like children and youth games – overnight guests – late nights – Sunday activities (other than worship) – and more come before corporate worship for many these days. Even among those who think of themselves as regular in worship – some think once or twice a month is regular. This is obvious on Sundays like Easter when most all attend and attendance sky-rockets yet there are few guests. Continue reading

May 9, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Meeting Together to Worship God

Hebrews 10:24-25

24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

RayMcDI found the cartoon I am using in this devotional thought on the Internet and thought it was cute and yet pointed as well. When I was younger our family life centered around church life. Now grant you my father was a pastor – but knowing mom and dad – even if they had other careers – our life would have centered around church life.

Between school and church – there wasn’t much time for anything else. Sunday was a full day of church – worship – Sunday School – family lunch – naps – youth group – and church again. Wednesday night was church again and throughout the week we were at the church one or two other nights for something. I played sports growing up but the coach knew that I couldn’t practice or play on a night I had church (he worked around it – and I was a starter in basketball and baseball).

Nowadays church is an afterthought for some families. It seems like – if there is nothing else to do I’ll go to church in some cases. Granted stores use to be closed – restaurants too. Community sports were not played on Sundays. Sunday was universally a day of worship and rest. The society just understood that things slowed on Sundays. Today some in the church are following the society’s view that Sunday is just another day. Continue reading

September 23, 2016 Posted by | Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Encourage One Another!

Hebrews 3:13

But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.

112015 Ray McDonaldEncouragement is a powerful tool. In sports – we often hear that team chemistry is very important. A team can have all of the components of a winning team – great defensive players – great offensive players – a great coach – and still not win. In baseball we see this all the time. Some teams try to buy championships – buying all the best players and hiring all the best staff – but often it is a team with great chemistry that wins.

Encouragement is a great tool. I see great chemistry happening this year on my favorite baseball team – the Baltimore Orioles. They have some great players – don’t get me wrong – and they have a great coach or manager. But it is the way the team encourages each other – the way they rally around each other – that will make the difference. The team was picked to finish last in their division by most experts who handicap such things before the season begins. They usually go on track record of players and forecast where they think the talent will take a team. They cannot measure breakout seasons or slumps – they also cannot measure great team chemistry – the encouragement factor I’ll call it. The O’s have it and currently are in first place in their division! Continue reading

May 11, 2016 Posted by | Bring, Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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